Skip To Main Content

Course Listing

Filter by Division

A History of Dance in the United States

In this course, students will explore various aspects of and experiences in dance in the United States through discussion, analysis, writing, and other academic projects. We will trace dances of early indigenous groups and enslaved Africans, as well as minstrelsy and the vaudeville era, and examine the ways in which these early traditions have influenced and are reflected in today’s culture, especially current practices in dance. The curriculum will also include an investigation of notable and diverse ballet, modern, post-modern, and diasporic dance throughout history, employing a critical lens of equity and inclusivity. Continuing to use this lens, we will deconstruct prevalent contemporary issues in dance around race, gender, and body image. Students will draw from text, film, and live performance throughout the year. This course meets during the academic day. (Open to students in grades 9-12. Full-year. ½ credit.)

Read More about A History of Dance in the United States
An Acting, Directing, and Playwriting Workshop

All students will develop and refine skills in acting, including scene study, voice, and movement. Training in Viewpoints composition will help students develop clear storytelling and divergent thinking skills, while Linklater voice helps students develop healthy and strong speaking technique. Students will work in ensembles on polished performance pieces; interested students will learn directing skills while in this workshop mode, including crafting a vision for a play, interpreting text with actors, communicating with designers, and communicating ideas clearly to an audience. Students interested in playwriting will have the opportunity to create new work within the structure of the course. Themes and plays for the course alternate and cover a wide range of style and genre, so students may enroll in this course over multiple years in order to develop a deeper knowledge of theatre histories and literature and gain experience as a leader and actor. (Open to students in grades 10-12, grade 9 with permission of the Director of Theatre. Levels 1, 2, and 3. Full year. ½ credit.)

Read More about An Acting, Directing, and Playwriting Workshop
Chamber Ensembles

Chamber Ensembles are open to all students who have a minimum of three years of study on their instrument. All chamber music students must also receive weekly private instruction for their instrument. Chamber Ensemble Groups learn and perform works in a variety of styles, flexibly arranged to accommodate different playing levels and instrumentation. Groups are led by music faculty members, and students may participate in an assigned ensemble (duo, trio, or quartet) or form their own appropriately matched ensemble group, dependent upon performance level and instrument combination. Groups meet once per week at the Dana Hall School of Music. All chamber group members are expected to rehearse on their own a minimum of one time per week or for at least 60 minutes. As a course requirement, chamber ensembles perform together at least one time per academic year, and there are several performance opportunities throughout the year from which to choose. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years. (Open to students in grades 9-12. Full year. ½ credit. Additional music tuition charges apply.)

Read More about Chamber Ensembles
Chamber Singers

Chamber Singers is open by audition to students who possess fine vocal and musicianship abilities and are committed to high performance standards. The group performs a challenging repertoire from a variety of styles ranging from classical to modern. Students strengthen musicianship skills through a variety of exercises intended to develop healthy vocal technique and abilities in improvisation, singing alone and in ensemble, sight-reading tonal and rhythm patterns, and singing melodies at sight. Emphasis is on strong vocal technique and creating expression through music. This group performs frequently at convocations, choral concerts, and other special school functions, including performances with the Chorus and with choirs from other schools. Attendance at many of these events, and the rehearsals leading up to them, is required. Group size is limited to 15-18 singers. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.

Read More about Chamber Singers
Chorus

The Upper School Chorus is a large ensemble that sings a wide variety of musical styles consisting of classical, musical theatre, spirituals, contemporary popular music, and music from different cultures in various languages. Members of the Chorus do not need prior musical experience; the Chorus consists of students of varying musical abilities from beginner to advanced. Students are taught the basic principles of singing, including proper breathing and posture, and they receive training in reading music, sight-singing, and solfège. Students sing unison, two-, three-, and four-part music, both accompanied and a cappella. Class is held during the academic day, but there are opportunities for performances at convocations and concerts throughout the school year. Attendance at many of these events, and the rehearsals leading up to them, is required. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.

Read More about Chorus
Creating Character: An Intro to Acting and Directing

Well-regarded acting techniques, such as Viewpoints movement and Linklater voice technique, are studied to help students become more confident, flexible, and creative thinkers and performers. While learning the principles of movement, voice, character, and scene study for an actor, students work on audition and polished performance pieces. Students will work in ensembles on polished performance pieces; interested students will learn directing skills while in this workshop mode, including crafting a vision for a play, interpreting text with actors, communicating with designers, and communicating ideas clearly to an audience. Themes and plays for the course alternate and cover a wide range of style and genre, prompting students to engage with diverse voices and movements in theatre, which in turn open windows to our world in both the past and the present. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years in order to collaborate with a new cohort of artists, develop a portfolio of costume designs, and perform for a variety of audiences. (Open to students in grades 9-12. Full year. ½ credit.)

Read More about Creating Character: An Intro to Acting and Directing
Dance I

The beginning course in a sequence of dance technique courses designed to build dancers’ technical skills and create awareness and appreciation of dance as an art form, this level is for students with minimal or no background in dance. This course may be taken for Performing Arts credit or Co-curricular credit. Students enrolled in Dance I for Performing Arts credit must take the course for the full year, while students enrolled in Dance I for Co-curricular credit are not required, but are strongly encouraged, to take the course for the full year. Classes include barre exercises, warmup in the center, stretches, and cardiovascular exercises, as well as combinations across the floor. Each week, students in Dance I take one class in Ballet, Jazz, or Modern (see below), as well as at least one additional class in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, or Hip-Hop. Students enrolled in Dance I have the opportunity to perform in dance showings held in the fall and spring trimesters. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years. (Open to students in grades 9-12. May be taken for Co-curricular or Performing Arts credit. If taken for Performing Arts credit, students must enroll for the full year to receive ½ credit.)

Read More about Dance I
Dance II

The beginning course in a sequence of dance technique courses designed to build dancers’ technical skills and create awareness and appreciation of dance as an art form, this level is for students with minimal or no background in dance. This course may be taken for Performing Arts credit or Co-curricular credit. Students enrolled in Dance I for Performing Arts credit must take the course for the full year, while students enrolled in Dance I for Co-curricular credit are not required, but are strongly encouraged, to take the course for the full year. Classes include barre exercises, warmup in the center, stretches, and cardiovascular exercises, as well as combinations across the floor. Each week, students in Dance I take one class in Ballet, Jazz, or Modern (see below), as well as at least one additional class in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, or Hip-Hop. Students enrolled in Dance I have the opportunity to perform in dance showings held in the fall and spring trimesters. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years. (Open to students in grades 9-12. May be taken for Co-curricular or Performing Arts credit. If taken for Performing Arts credit, students must enroll for the full year to receive ½ credit.)

Read More about Dance II
Dance III

This level provides fast-moving, advanced classes for students with a strong dance background. Classes include barre exercises, warmups in the center, stretches, and cardiovascular exercises, as well as combinations across the floor. Each week, students in Dance III take a class in Ballet, as well as at least one additional class in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, or Hip-Hop (see below). Dance III students are also invited, but not required, to participate in Dance Repertory Group, and all have the opportunity to perform in informal and formal dance showings throughout the school year. To enrich the dance experience, guest artists are occasionally invited to teach master classes in various dance styles. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.

Read More about Dance III
Dance Repertory Group

An audition-based choreography, rehearsal, and performance course, this ensemble for advanced dancers focuses on performance skills, compositional tools with which to develop choreography, and the production of informal and formal concerts. Students in this course occasionally have the opportunity to perform in pieces created by guest choreographers. Dance Repertory Group students must be enrolled in Dance III. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.

Read More about Dance Repertory Group
Fall Play

The Fall Play is a theatrical production that varies in style from year to year. Students audition to be an actor in the production or sign up for a technical theatre position. Each production offers challenging roles for experienced performers and ensemble parts. Students learn about the process of making theatre as they create a performance for the school community and the public. Performances are open to the public.

Read More about Fall Play
Flute Choir

The Dana Hall Flute Choir is open by audition to students who are accomplished in flute and committed to high performance standards. Members of The Dana Hall Flute Choir must also receive private instruction in flute in addition to the class. The ensemble meets at The Dana Hall School of Music one time per week, for 45 minutes, during the academic day. The group performs repertoire that spans from baroque to modern music. There are several performance opportunities throughout the year and participation in at least three performances is required. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years. (Open to students in grades 9-12. Full year. ½ credit. Additional music tuition charges apply.)

Read More about Flute Choir
Grade 5 Dance

In the fifth-grade dance course, students learn from a creative movement model that draws upon the fundamentals of dance technique and terminology. Collaborative creation between students is encouraged. Basic modern dance vocabulary, spatial awareness, and elements of composition are introduced and explored.

Grade 5 Theatre Productions

The fifth-grade students undertake a short theatre production as an interdisciplinary project with World Languages. A play about the ancient world is performed as a class project, and all of the students experience being part of a theater production.

Read More about Grade 5 Theatre Productions
Grade 6 Workshop: Dance

In Dance Workshop, sixth graders learn from a creative movement model that draws upon the fundamentals of basic modern dance vocabulary, spatial awareness, and stage directions. Elements of composition are explored.

Read More about Grade 6 Workshop: Dance
Grade 6 Workshop: Theater

Students gain an understanding of the key elements of theater: focus, imagination, collaboration, and communication. Culminating projects, including workshopping plays and scene work develop an appreciation for the creative process.

Read More about Grade 6 Workshop: Theater
Grade 7 Workshop: Costume Design

In this theater workshop, students experience both elements of a character-driven, collaborative project. Students begin with principles of movement for actors and learn how costumes are used to tell a story. 

Read More about Grade 7 Workshop: Costume Design
Grade 7 Workshop: Music Composition

Students will be introduced to the art of composition through the use of Garageband as well as various web-based tools. Through listening, studying, and analyzing a varied selection of music, students will begin to understand the basic fundamentals of musical structure and form. Students will cover concepts of musical contour, question/answer phrases, and basic chord progressions. Overall, students will be given the tools to be able to express themselves through their own original music. Students will explore how music can be a powerful tool for expressing and communicating emotions and ideas on both a personal and societal level.

Read More about Grade 7 Workshop: Music Composition
Grade 8 Workshop: In the Director’s Chair: Directing and Acting Workshop

Students focus on stage direction, acting, and scene design. Each student directs a scene from contemporary dramatic literature. Activities include individual and group acting and directing exercises, individual and group in-class performances, peer response sessions, and  viewing and discussion of performance clips from notable directors.

Read More about Grade 8 Workshop: In the Director’s Chair: Directing and Acting Workshop
Grade 8 Workshop: Introduction to Technical Theatre Design


Artistic creativity and hands-on work combine in this introductory course, which explores the backstage world of theater. Students will investigate areas of production and design from both a practical and a theoretical base. Students will be given the opportunity to learn about theater and shop safety, scenic design fundamentals and set construction, technical aspects and basic operation of lighting technology, basic operation of sound technology, scenic painting, and props. Demonstrations and discussion will be an essential part of the class. 

Read More about Grade 8 Workshop: Introduction to Technical Theatre Design
Grade 8 Workshop: Musical Theater

In this class, students will be learning about musical theater and its importance as an art form. Students will learn about the history of musical theater and be able to view excerpts of various shows starting with early examples all the way up to the current popular shows. Various styles and musical characteristics of particular musicals will be explored and discussed with the chance for students to learn specific songs both as an ensemble member as well as a soloist.
Some basic singing technique and music reading will be covered and will culminate in an informal performance at the end of the trimester.

Grade 8 Workshop: Step It Up: Technique and Performance

This course is designed for students with a strong background in dance and a curiosity for dance composition concepts. Classes include a warmup based on a combination of modern dance techniques as well as the introduction and exploration of various dance composition exercises. Students’ work throughout the trimester culminates in a performance project. (Open to students with permission of the Director of Dance.)

Read More about Grade 8 Workshop: Step It Up: Technique and Performance
Grades 5-8: Private Music Lessons

Dana Hall students, regardless of previous music experience, may enroll in private music lessons through the Dana Hall School of Music. Instruction is offered in voice, including classical, jazz/pop and musical theatre, and on a wide variety of instruments, including piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar, drums, flute, clarinet, trumpet, French horn, oboe, saxophone, trombone, harp, electric guitar, and electric bass, and erhu. Private music lessons take place once per week at the Dana Hall School of Music and are typically scheduled after school for Middle School students. Dana Hall music faculty members are professional musicians and educators drawn from the Boston area, and they tailor private lessons to address the learning style and goals of each student, from the beginner to the advanced student aspiring to a career in music. Numerous recital opportunities are available to students throughout the year. Students and their families may also enjoy music faculty and guest artist performances at Beveridge Hall throughout the year. Students may enroll in private music instruction over multiple years. (Open to students in grades 5-8. Full year. Ongoing registration. Additional music tuition charges apply. Please visit the School of Music portion of the Dana Hall website for more information.)

Read More about Grades 5-8: Private Music Lessons
Grades 5 and 6 Emsemble: Chorus

The fifth- and sixth-grade students come together to form this choral group. The Chorus sings a variety of music while learning about breathing, intonation, and reading music. Chorus performs throughout the academic year, including a featured performance in the annual Revels production. (This course meets twice per week for the full year.) 

Read More about Grades 5 and 6 Emsemble: Chorus
Grades 7 and 8 Ensembles: Beginning Piano

In this class, students will learn beginning piano technique on keyboards with the goal of being able to play with both hands, both melody and harmony. Basic piano skills will include proper hand position,learning how to play scales and chord progressions in major and minor keys, basic technical exercises as well as playing and reading through repertoire pieces. Students will learn solo repertoire for short informal performances at the end of each trimester and are encouraged to learn pieces both by ear and also through reading notation. Students will also have the opportunity to learn parts for both small and large ensembles in class.

Read More about Grades 7 and 8 Ensembles: Beginning Piano
Grades 7 and 8 Ensembles: Chorus

Chorus sings a variety of music ranging from folk songs to musical theater pieces to neo-classical arrangements. Intonation and music theory are key elements of this ensemble.

Read More about Grades 7 and 8 Ensembles: Chorus
Grades 7 and 8 Ensembles: Dragon Fire Brass Ensemble

The Dragon Fire Brass Ensemble is a musical group made up of trumpets, trombones, and tubas. Prior experience on brass instruments, or music in general, is not required. Beginners are welcome and encouraged! Students in this ensemble will learn the intricacies of playing a brass instrument of their choosing, read musical notation, and work together on exercise and pieces, culminating in performances throughout the year. 

Read More about Grades 7 and 8 Ensembles: Dragon Fire Brass Ensemble
Grades 7 and 8 Ensembles: String Sisters Ensemble

Violinists, violaists, cellists, double bassists with 2+ years experience and the ability to read sheet music come together as a small performance ensemble. Under Music School strings faculty leadership, groups learn and perform works in a variety of styles, flexibly arranged to accommodate varying playing levels and instrumentation. Students hone their skills in listening, ear-training, leadership and performance. Students should be supported by individual lessons on their instrument, whether at Dana Hall School of Music or otherwise. Informal audition required. Additional tuition required. 

Read More about Grades 7 and 8 Ensembles: String Sisters Ensemble
Grades 7 and 8 Ensembles: Ukulele Ensemble

This ensemble does not require any previous ukulele experience or ability to read notation; it is geared towards beginners. Students will learn how to read standard music notation as well as tablature. They will learn to tune their ukuleles, play scales, read and play a melodic line, and read and strum several different chords. Students will work both as a large ensemble and in smaller chamber ensembles, culminating in projects on songs of their own choosing. For these small group projects, students will create their own arrangements- deciding how the melodic line is played or sung and inventing their own strum patterns.

Read More about Grades 7 and 8 Ensembles: Ukulele Ensemble
Jazz Combo

Jazz Combo is a small group class that welcomes instrumentalists and vocalists with a minimum of three years of music study in either classical, jazz, or rock. Students are placed in small groups (duo, trio, or quartet) and meet weekly with the jazz instructor. The class teaches the basics of improvisation and ensemble performance. Members must also receive weekly private instruction for their instrument or voice. Jazz Combo members are required to participate in at least one performance per year. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.

Read More about Jazz Combo
Private Music Lessons

Dana Hall students, regardless of previous music experience, may enroll in private music lessons through the Dana Hall School of Music. Instruction is offered in voice, including classical, jazz/pop, and musical theatre, and on a wide variety of instruments, including piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar, drums, flute, clarinet, trumpet, French horn, oboe, saxophone, trombone, harp, electric guitar, electric bass, and erhu. Private music lessons take place once per week at the Dana Hall School of Music. Dana Hall music faculty members are professional musicians and educators drawn from the Boston area, and they tailor private lessons to address the learning style and goals of each student from the beginner to the advanced student aspiring to a career in music. Numerous performance opportunities and faculty and guest artist recitals are available to students throughout the year. Students may enroll in music instruction over multiple years.

Read More about Private Music Lessons
Rock Band

Dana Hall Rock Band welcomes instrumentalists and vocalists with a minimum of one year of music study in either classical, jazz, or rock. Students are placed in small groups (duo, trio, or quartet) and meet weekly with the instructor. The class teaches ensemble performance, rock/pop/folk repertoire, rhythm, and musicianship. Rock Band members must also receive weekly private instruction for their instrument or voice. Rock Band meets one time per week at the Music School, and members are required to participate in at least one performance per year. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years. (Open to students in grades 9-12. Full year. ½ credit. Additional music tuition charges apply.)

Read More about Rock Band
Songwriters’ Experience

In this course, students explore the world of creative songwriting and composition.  There is no need for prior experience with music. Students learn about lyric writing, music history, and music theory as it pertains to composition. Students create their own works through the use of computers, electric keyboards, and music software. By year’s end, students make a CD featuring the work they composed in the course.

Read More about Songwriters’ Experience
Spring Musical

The Spring Musical show selection aims to expose students to a range of musical and dance styles. Students audition to be an actor in the production or sign up for a technical theatre position. Each production offers challenging roles for experienced performers and ensemble parts. Students learn about the process of making theatre as they create a performance for the school community and the public. Performances are open to the public.

Read More about Spring Musical
String Society

The Dana Hall String Society is open by audition to students who are accomplished in violin, viola, cello, bass, harp or piano and committed to high performance standards. Members of The Dana Hall String Society must also receive private instruction in their instrument, in addition to the class. The ensemble meets at The Dana Hall School of Music two times per week, for 45 minutes, during the academic day. The group performs repertoire that spans from baroque to modern music. There are several performance opportunities throughout the year and participation in at least three performances is required. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years. (Open to students in grades 9-12. Full year. ½ credit. Additional music tuition charges apply.)

Read More about String Society
Student-Directed Play

The Student-Directed Play is an entirely student-run theatrical production, with the support of the Director of Theater. Through an application process, students will be chosen to fill the positions of director, technical director, production manager, and stage manager. This team will facilitate the audition, casting, and rehearsal process. The cast and crew will explore the logistics of staging a full-length production, resulting in a performance in front of an audience.

Read More about Student-Directed Play
Theatrical Design & Technology

Technology and artistic creativity combine in this course as we explore the challenges and rewards of designing scenery, props, lighting, costumes, projection, and live and recorded sound, culminating in working on the Upper School Fall Play, the Dance Concert, and the Upper School Musical. Following initial instruction in the skills involved, students become a member of the Tech Crew for two of the three major shows. The course is practical, offering opportunities for hands-on experience with professional equipment in the theatre, and with the building tools available in the scene shop. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years. (Open to students in grades 9-12. Full year. ½ credit.)

Read More about Theatrical Design & Technology
Women in Music

Women in Music is an investigation into and a celebration of women’s musical activities in a variety of capacities and musical traditions. This course will cover not only women composers, but also women performers, women patrons, and the depiction of women in the marketing and consumption of music. We will survey a variety of music styles, from medieval chants to current popular music. The course will conclude with a student-chosen project involving either songwriting, performing, or an oral presentation highlighting an aspect of women in music.

Read More about Women in Music